Welcome to Just Old Flies

Welcome to 'just old flies,' a section of methods and flies that used-to-be. These flies were tied with the only materials available. Long before the advent of 'modern' tying materials, they were created and improved upon at a far slower pace than todays modern counterparts; limited by materials available and the tiers imagination.

Once long gone, there existed a 'fraternity' of anglers who felt an obligation to use only the 'standard' patterns of the day. We hope to bring a bit of nostalgia to these pages and to you. And sometimes what you find here will not always be about fishing. Perhaps you will enjoy them. Perhaps you will fish the flies. Perhaps?

Part One hundred twenty-seven



Compiled By Deanna Birkholm

"Leonard Halladay, of Mayfield, Michigan [near Traverse City] was the first to tie this truly "Michigan's favorite fly" which was named for Charles F. Adams, an attorney of Lorrain, Ohio. As Halladay himself tell it:

"The first Adams I made I handed to Mr. Adams, who was fishing in a small pond in front of my house, to try on the Boardman that evening. When he came back next morning, he wanted to know what I called it. He said it was a 'knock-out' and I said we would call it the Adams, since he had made the first good catch on it.'

Female version
As is always true with any popular fly, it developed variations and is now found in a Mrs. as well as blue wing pattern. It is tied in the dry pattern only. [Mrs. shown at right].

It is easy to see how some flies attain wide and lasting popularity - they simply combine the salient features of a number of the more prevalent naturals. The Adams combines what I personally regard as the two basic colors of flies - brown and gray, and the mottling blends the two colors in a most natural way. The rough body is a more attractive type - or rather a type more attractive - than quill, silk or metal. The wide wings suggest the spent fly, and also the attention-getting loom of the fanwing and will stand up much better under use. Also the fly is saved from complete invisibility by the barred wings.

The christening of the Adams took place about 1922. Leonard Hallady, born in 1872, has spent the last sixty or seventy years living near the Boardman River . . ."

The pattern is: Adams

    Hook:   "Mustad #94840, #94833 or Orvis Supreme.

    Thread:   Black - silk, monocord or nylon.

    Tail:  Two strands from a golden pheasant neck feather.

    Hackle:  Mixed, from neck feathers of Barred Plymouth Rock and Rhode Island Red roosters.

    Wings:  Narrow neck feathers of Barred Plymouth Rock rooster, tied "advanced" forward and in a semi-spent manner."

The Hair Stone is another of Halladay's patterns.

Many anglers have stated that if they had to use just one dry fly it would be the Adams. A spent wing version is an excellent fly to be used during a spinner fall.

While it is assumed the Adams is a mayfly imitation, it was intended as a caddis imitation, and works equally well for both.

Credits: quoted sections and information from Fly Patterns and Their Origins by Harold Hinsdill Smedly, published by Westshore Publications, and Trout and Salmon Fly Index by Dick Surette's, published by Stackpole Books.

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